Thursday, 30 April 2015

April Books

Black Wood by SJI Holliday - The story is set in an East Lothian village where everyone knows everyone else and their business.

The story centres round what happened to Jo & Claire in Black Wood over 20 years ago. An attack in the woods by two boys left their lives destroyed.

Interesting characters and a story which had me guessing until the surprise ending I didn't see coming! Loved it.

Don't turn around by Caroline Mitchell* - free copy from NetGalley. A brilliant debut novel from Caroline Mitchell. DC Jennifer Knight investigates a routine stabbing in sleepy Haven.  She is getting a message from beyond the grave which seems to be personal.  A series of murders happen which are mirror images to a case of the Grim Reaper over 20 years ago. A killer her mother helped to convict. I really warmed to Jennifer, her police partner Will and her little nephew Josh. and I look forward to Caroline's second in the series. A supernatural police thriller which I found un-put-downable.

Friendless Lane by Helen Black - Lily Valentine a tough talking lawyer and single mum's latest case is her toughest yet. A few years ago Kelsey Brand who was accused of murdering her mother and Lily represented her. Ten years on Kelsey contacts Lily for her help to find her missing friend Gem who was last seen working in a strip club in Luton.

Another girl disappears from the same area and it looks like a gang are grooming vulnerable teens. Gem's mutilated body is found and the race is on to find the missing girl.  This could be read alone but is part of a series.

Dying for Christmas by Tammy Cohen - Jessica Gold decides to stop for a coffee when Christmas shopping and meets a handsome blue eyed stranger called Dominic Lacey. He starts flirting with her and she flirts back even though she has a boyfriend called Travis. 

Dominic invites her to his place for a festive drink and he keeps her prisoner marking the twelve days of Christmas with her each day giving her a gift each more horrible than the last. We hear how her parents, brothers and Travis deal with her disappearance and Kim the PC on the case believes there is more to the story than we are led to believe...Brilliant read with many twists and turns most of which I didn't see coming. Would recommend.

Boxer Handsome by Anna Whitwham - The story opens with Bobby and Connor fighting over traveller girl, Theresa. The fight is violent and brutal. They are due to meet each other in the ring in a week's time.

Fighting is in the history of both boys - Bobby's dad Joe was a great boxer, now ruined by drink as was his grandad.  Bobby's handsome like his dad "boxer handsome".  When Bobby meets Chloe, a girl who is different from anyone he's ever met before he takes her on a date but he's unable to cope with a relationship and violence wins through. An interesting read with hope at the end. Would recommend.

Of Broken Things by Lynda Tavakoli - set in 1920s Ireland John Flynn is 10 when his sister Stela is born, a much longed for sister.  She's a beautiful child and everyone loves her.  Their dad Redmond is harsh and an alcoholic and John has to take on chores from an early age. Stela withdraws from the world as she reaches her third birthday only speaking with John. Tragedy strikes and a secret long hidden becomes known to John.  He starts to make his own way in the world and finds a love of his own. A great read.

Without a Trace by Lesley Pearse* - copy received from Love Reading for review.  Molly Heywood wonders where her friend Cassie and her daughter Petal are when they don't turn up to the Coronation Day 1953 in the village of Sawbridge in Somerset.

She turns up at their cottage and discovers something tragic and Cassie's daughter Petal is missing..  She believes the police are not doing enough to discover what has happened and takes matters into her own hands when she finds a letter. Leaving the village after a row with her bully of a father she embarks a new life although she is determined to find Petal.

A great read which I'd highly recommend.

What have you been reading this month?

*complimentary sent for review

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

April Empties

Here's what I've been using up in April:

Organic Surge Tropical Bergamot Shower Gel 250ml - love this. Already got another in my stash.

bodhi Desert Rose Rejuvenating Face Oil 30ml - this is a staple for me. Got another one to use.  See my review here*.

Lea Journo Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner both 90ml - perfect size for travel these rich and hydrating hair products are super luxe.  See my review here. Would buy again.

Indie Lee Vanilla Citrus Moisturising Oil 4oz* - I loved this. See my review here*. Would buy.

John Masters Organics Lavender Rosemary Shampoo 30ml - I don't think I've tried a JMO product (well apart from their body scrub!) I haven't loved. Sure to pick this up full size at some point.

Bamford Geranium, Lavender & Peppermint Body Wash 50ml - nice to use would maybe purchase.

Bentley Organic Shampoo for Frequent use 50ml - this didn't really suit my hair type so wouldn't buy.

Pure & Light Organic Essential Hand Cream with Yarrow and Lavender 75ml* - this was one of the most luxurious hand creams I've used but at £39 I'd expect nicer packaging. The top of the tube split not long after I started using it.

Docteur Renaud Raspberry Cleansing Water 50ml* - this was lovely to use with a refreshing scent.  See my review here.

Shay & Blue Salt Caramel Fragrance 10ml - love this! My friend Julie bought me 30ml for my birthday. One of my favourite scents this year.

Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts 100g - I can't live without these relaxing and calming salts.

Dr Organic Pomegranate Deodorant 50ml - a staple. Also quite like the Rose Otto variety.

What have you been using up this month?

*PR samples

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

April: Lately I've been Loving

Here's what I've been loving in April - 

My friend Nardine (@Miss_Nardine) was in Paris and send me some goodies! Thanks again huni for my lovely pressie.

My other good friend Magi made me a personalised birthday card which made me smile!

We spend a great couple of days at The Hideaway Experience just outside Dundee. See my review here.

I became a proud allotment owner in April. Updates to follow!

Thanks to Lucy at LG Makeup for introducing me to Jane Iredale Make up all these years ago. I'm loving the new Just Kissed in Forever Peach* (already a huge fan of the Forever Pink version). This gives a nice warm peachy glow. Full review to follow.

Teatonics delicious newish tea company. Highly recommend Mind Awakening Yerba Mate an invigorating blend of yerba mate, grapefruit, citrus, peppermint and rosehip. Yum yum.

ZEEN Argan Oil* is a super luxe award winning 100% pure organic Argan Oil which is perfect for nourishing hair, face and body and has a nice nutty scent. A full review to follow!

What have you been loving this month?

*PR samples

Monday, 27 April 2015

Nourish Advanced Cellular Skincare Boxed Set

I simply love the little Limited Edition collections Naturisimo offer from time to time and this little Nourish Skincare one is a cracker! Perfect for try me, holidays or as a small gift. Retailing at £9.95 delivered.

The set is exclusive to Naturisimo and contains 6 best selling products which are perfect to prep your skin for Spring & Summer.

Treatment Argan Skin Rescue 5ml - this treatment oil rejuvenates, hydrates and brightens the skin. It's perfect for stressed out skin and smells fantastic. See more details here.

Argan Skin Renew Cream 8ml - this cream hydrates and firms. Not tried this before so expect a review with further thoughts. Likewise not tried Protect Hydrating Moisturiser 8ml and Kale Biomimetic Eye Cream 2ml.

I'm a huge fan of Golden Glow Illuminating Face Shimmer 8ml - see my review here*. This is a product I use every day before foundation.

I also love Kale Enzymatic Exfoliating Cleanser 8ml - see my review here*.

I'm packing some of these away for my next holiday as they are the perfect size for travel.  What's your favourite Nourish product?

*PR samples

Sunday, 26 April 2015

A New Subscription Box: MicroBarBox - Variety Box

A new and very different subscription box has been launched and its called MicroBarBox*. Basically what you get is a box full of alcoholic drinks, mixers and snacks which are cleverly packed up to look like a beauty box subscription!  Prices start at £24.00 (plus £4.76 P&P). See more details HERE. I was sent a Variety Box* to review.

Get £12 off your first box when you sign up to any subscription using code

Co-Founder Kate, a lover of monthly subscription boxes thought how fab it would be to have a cocktail & alcoholic drink monthly box (me too!) She searched online but couldn't find one so decided to launch her own with her friend Paula and husband Graham.  

Inside the box you find tissue, crinkly paper and a menu card (just like a beauty box!) which tells you what's in the box this month and how to mix it! Everything is carefully tissue and bubble wrapped and exciting to open!

So what's inside:
1 x 5cl Bacardi Miniature
1 x 5cl 6 O'Clock Gin Miniature
1 x 5cl Wild Strawberry Vodka 
1 x 200ml Prosecco
1 x 200ml 6 O'Clock Tonic Water
1 x Funkin Mojito Mixer
1 x 50g bag of Dormen Chilli & Lime Cashew Nuts
3 x Dolfin Chocolate Squares

On the "what goes with what?" card you will find suggestions on how to mix your drinks as well as a little information about the snacks enclosed.  I personally think it's a great box and I'm very tempted to sign up.

If you are tempted too I've got a special code for a discount of £12 on your first box, when you sign up to any subscription. Use code "BB12OFF1STBOX".

There are also a fab range of GIFT BOXES - Chocoholic Box has my name written all over it! 

See the website HERE
Follow on Twitter @microbarbox

Do you think this is the sort of subscription box you'd sign up to?

*sent for review

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Giveaway: Win a Beatitude Body Oil - it's over!

I've got an extra special giveaway for you today. Win a Beatitude Body Oil of your choice - PatienceJoy or Peace. The oil is 100ml and worth £34. I recently reviewed Joy Body Oil* and previously reviewed Peace Body Oil*.  

This is a UK Giveaway only and it's mandatory that you follow Beatitude on Twitter @beatitudeoils. 

Please don't add my giveaway to any competition websites/blogs

The oils are super luxe and a real treat! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 24 April 2015

Latest in Beauty: Bath & Body Beauty Mini Collection

I spotted this little Collection (£8.99 plus P&P) over at Latest in Beauty and knew I had to have it! It contains my must-always have in my stash Therapie Himalayan Detox Salts (100g - and worth £10!) as well as lots of other goodies!

The Amphora Aromatics Orange and Clove candle is simply divine! To me it smells of cinnamon sticks mixed with orange and spice. Looking forward to burning it!

Also inside are is a 20ml bottle of Kneipp's Lavender Herbal Bath - I'm a huge fan of this brand and their herbal bath products so am looking forward to a couple of relaxing baths.

There are 3 x 5ml sachets of Dr Organic's Dead Sea Mineral Bio-Plasma Mud Mask which is detoxifying, rejuvenating & anti-ageing. I've tried this before and loved it. Nice to see 3 sachets - I was expecting just one!

The final items which I'll pass onto my friend Magi is Sanctuary Spa White Lily & Damask Rose Body Lotion 75ml - it smells really lovely but I know I won't use it.

Are you tempted?  Buy yours HERE.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Fushi Really Good Cellulite Oil

I've been using Fushi Really Good Cellulite Oil (£19.95 for 100ml)* for a couple of weeks now.  It is one of the brand's best sellers.

The oil contains Gotu Kola, an Ayurvedic herb which has circulatory benefits and Green Coffee Bean which together tones, firms and is said to reduce cellulite. The oil is made of Vitamin rich Wheatgerm oil with detoxifying sweet birch and cleansing grapefruit and is 100% natural and 80% organic as well as being free from parabens, SLS, DEA, TEA, petrochemicals, phthalates, synthetic colours and fragrances.

Apply to the affected area AM and PM for two weeks following with ongoing application once a day massaging towards the heart.

I can't say I love the scent - it reminds me of germolene and I haven't noticed any difference to the cellulite on my thighs although my skin there feels firmer and more nourished.  I'll keep using the bottle and let you know my final thoughts in an empties post.

Remember you can get a free Fushi Hydrating Lip Balm with any Fushi order at Naturisimo with code FUSHI (while stocks last). See my review of the lip balm here.

*PR sample

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

New Allotment

I've had a wee veggie plot for the last few years - you can see posts about it hereherehereherehereherehere and here. I've now become the owner of a real half size allotment! I'm absolutely over the moon! (I was on the waiting list for about 3 years).

The last owner has left me a shed! as well as raspberry canes, strawberry plants and brambles. Watch out for updates over the coming months. Excited much!

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Shopping My Stash #64

I'm a huge fan of the range of products from Abahna especially their Frangipani & Orange Blossom scent - these two products came in my birthday present from my friend Julie.  It's been a while since I've had them in my stash and I'd forgotten how much I love them! Both 100ml - Bath & Shower Gel & Body Lotion.  See my review HERE.  Do check out the SALE as there are some great offers!

Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave in Conditioner 2oz - I simply love this lightweight spray on conditioner. It leaves my hair feeling soft, nourished and looking fab! It featured in my Summer Saviours last year and it'll be there again this year!

OLE HENRIKSEN Pure Truth Melting Cleanser 3-in-1 Cleansing Gelee 15ml - this fantastic cleanser came in the Dream Box III by British Beauty Blogger. Rub it onto dry skin and it transforms into an oil then add some water and it turns into a milk which you remove with a warmed damp muslin cloth. Leaves the skin feeling clean and comfortable.

Bloom Remedies Daily Detox Organic Skincare Moisturiser 30ml - this is a recent purchase and featured in my mini haul post last Tuesday.  A lightweight moisturiser which is perfect for problem, oily or combination skins (that's me!). It absorbs quickly leaving the skin lightly moisturised and feeling calm.

My Daughter Fragrance Joyful Spritzer 10ml* - this is such a happy scent and perfect for Spring and Summer.  See my review here.

What have you been reaching for lately?

*PR sample

Monday, 20 April 2015

Beatitude Joy Body Oil

Rebecca from Beatitude got in touch with me to ask if I'd like to try Joy Body Oil (100ml - £34)*. It's absolutely beautiful - zesty, uplifting and joyful! It is perfect for spring and summer infact any time you need a happiness boost. The body oil contains Grapefruit, Bergamot, Orange, Mandarin and Petigrain Essential Oils along with nourishing oils of Oat, Camellia, Peach Kernel and Daikon Radish Seed.  

The whole range is super luxe and has won many awards - Janey Loves Platinum Award 2014, Free From Skincare Awards 2014 Bronze, Free from Skincare Awards 2013 Commended and finalist in The Beauty Shortlist Awards in both 2013 and 2014.

100% natural and free from parabens, sulphates, petrochemicals and synthetics.  The oil has a serum like texture which absorbs quickly onto the skin leaving it deeply nourished and smelling gorgeous! Both the body and bath oils are presented in a luxury glass decanter bottle making it real treat for yourself or as a gift.  See the new website HERE. You can also buy gift cards which also would be a really thoughtful gift. 

P&P is free on orders over £30 and you will receive a free sample with every order which I think is a nice touch.

*sent for review

Sunday, 19 April 2015

10th Wedding Anniversary Trip: The Hideaway Experience & Lunch at Castlehill Restaurant, Dundee

We spend a couple of nights at The Hideaway Experience, a luxury 5* escape for couples at Balkello farm near to Dundee. We chose the Lovers' Hideaway, a super luxe and well equipped Hideaway - it literally has everything you need for a romantic getaway!  Caroline & Ross have thought of ever comfort making for a perfect stay.  A nice touch is homemade bread and a bottle of fizz awaiting you on arrival!

We had an amazing two days of total relaxation. The hot tub was a highlight as was the beautiful bath in the Spa Room compete with double showers and a sauna (it was also a real treat to be able to display all the beauty products I brought with me!)

Check in is 4pm and check out 11am unless you have booked the 24 hour break which has a 2pm check in and out.  See more details HERE.  The Hideaway is self-catering although you can buy some local edibles to enjoy during your stay - just ask when you book and you could enjoy Forfar butter, local strawberries, Angus Sirloin Steaks, Arbroath Smokies and Cairn O'Mohr wines (prices available by request).

Hope to return soon!

See the website HERE
Follow on Twitter @LuxuryHideaways

On the way up to the Hideaways we stopped for lunch at Castlehill Restaurant in Dundee. They offer a great value and delicious lunch at £17.95 for three courses. See the menus for lunch and dinner HERE.  


Smoked Chicken Caesar - parmesan - anchovy - garlic

Smoked Haddock Brandade - soused mussels - cauliflower - coriander


Lamb Presse - fregola - romanesco - caper & raisin dressing

Flat Iron Beef - skirlie - Parsley root - creamed potato


Vanilla Creme Brulee with rhubarb sorbet - ginger wine - chocolate

Spiced Chocolate Ganache - mandarin - cookie crumb - blood orange

Really impressed with the delicious food - would recommend!  See the website HERE. Definitely want to re-visit!